Architects question the traditional veranda and create new indoor-outdoor living
Tanderra house is positioned on a 40 hectare site on top of a hill to take advantage of beautiful views to the distant ocean. However the views are to the west and the house is exposed to a powerful prevailing wind. In the summer hot northerlies blow across the site and it is as a counterpoint to this exposure that the house forms a ‘L’ shape and digs itself into the ground to provide sheltered outdoor space for the occupants. Key functional spaces are located discretely along the length of the plan and connected by covered outdoor terraces rather than corridors.
In Australia the veranda is traditionally transformed in this way to make a sun room, a sleep out or a place to eat in the cool of the evening. The fluid nature of veranda space has been integral to Sean Godsell architects’ research into houses and led to two distinct elements emerging: the outer skin and the ambiguous plan. The operable outer skin protects and shades the occupants and opens and closes spaces to views. The ambiguous plan is the unexpected use of the veranda, not in accordance with the normal Australian context, and the attempt to question use function inside and outside.
The ground slab is insulated, the windows are double glazed and the mullions are split to eliminate thermal bridging, the spine wall structure is concrete filled masonry to add thermal mass. Rainwater is harvested and stored in a 100,000 litre in ground tank, sewerage is treated and used to irrigate the garden and an array of solar collectors is located on a shed roof to the south west of the main house. The floor is recycled black butt and the in-floor heating, run entirely from tank water, reverses in summer to act as a heat sink to help cool the house in summer. To help the house to breathe there are slices through the east and west spine wall so that air can move from south to north.